I will never make a dime from this blog and I’m perfectly okay with that. Lately, I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately around my future plans for the blog and how I’m planning to “monetize BIT”. After all, that’s what most bloggers do when their blog reaches a certain size, right? Well maybe, but I’m not most bloggers and BIT isn’t like most blogs. Unlike most blogs out there:
- I have no products for sale.
- I have no ads on display.
- I have no affiliate links hidden away here [any link on this site is solely because I think they’re worth linking to].
- I don’t sell my email list [you guys are way too awesome to share]
So if I don’t make money those ways, how am I going to make money of my blog? Well, it’s simple…
I have a job [yes, I said the j-word]. I’m the Marketing Director for Fat Atom Internet Marketing [it says it right there on my home page]. I do occasional consulting for friends or people who ask nicely and that’s it. I don’t make the most money in the world, but I do okay for myself. I’m not “location independent”, I’m not living in Asia and I’m not Tim Ferriss [Surprisingly, I actually get asked all three of those questions a lot. I have no idea why]. Sorry to disappoint.
I’ve never depended on my blog for income and I never have and I don’t plan on it. There are a variety of reasons why not, but the main reason is I think most blog monetization strategies are sort of boring.
Blog Monetization in 60 Seconds
There are usually two types of blog monetization strategies. The first traditional method looks something like this:
Blogs Posts –> Audience –> Ads + Ads + more Ads –> $$$
It’s a good strategy and works great but the problem is you have to have massive traffic in order for it to be worth while [Lifehacker, Gawker, Cult of Mac, etc], or you have to be a super tiny niche site that you can get search engine traffic for [super speed dating for penguin lovers living in Albuquerque]. Neither option appeals to me with what I’m doing here at BIT.
The second “NEW” unconventional* method works something like this:
Blog Posts –> Audience –> Affiliate Links –> $$$ –> Product Launch –> more $$$
This is also a good strategy, but you take this approach, you have to realize you’re not just “blogging” anymore, you’re in the affiliate business and the information product business. The key difference here is the word business, not blogging.Observation: It’s interesting how so many people wanting to live “unconventional” lives are all following pretty conventional monetization strategies.
Build a business, not a blog
Read this article. Then go through and replace the word “app” with “blog” and follow the advice. Then do me a favor and never use the phrase “monetize your blog” again. You monetize your traffic by converting it [via sales, ads, links]. You monetize your blog by selling it. There’s a big difference.
Definitions aside, you’re still way better off building a business, than a blog. A business has customers who pay you money. A blog has subscribers who may or may not read your posts, click your links, or buy your products. If you’re starting a blog, realize what it is…a blog. Once you come to that realization, you can build a business around it, but whatever you do, please don’t confuse having a blog with having a business. [Update: Naomi Dunford just wrote on this. It’s worth reading].
You are more valuable than your blog. Don’t limit yourself by thinking your blog is a business. There is some skill or knowlege you have that people will pay you for: consulting, design work, writing copy, photography. Use it. If you really don’t have any all [trust me, there’s something], make a product or service that people will buy.
Put simply: unless you have a huge rabid audience that slobbers over everything you release [i.e. Leo, Chris, etc], there are much better [and much more interesting] ways to make money than selling e-books.
The goal of BIT
I’m not trying to use BIT to make money. If I was, I’d be doing a terrible job since I have nothing to sell you. That’s done on purpose. I want this to be completely my space. That’s why I don’t run guest posts, push affiliate links or run ads on my site. It’s all Joel, all the time. Some might say that’s selfish, but that’s what I’ve chosen to do for a specific purposes. I’m not building BIT to be a black box that will print money while I sleep, I’m building BIT to be a tool, which, while less lucrative, is much, much more useful. Let me explain:
BIT is a networking tool
This blog gives me the chance to meet a lot of really awesome people. I’ve had a chance to connect with people from all over the world and meet people that I never would have had a chance to meet otherwise. As a result, I could fly halfway around the world tomorrow, and have a couple people pick me up at the airport to hang out. That is pretty freaking cool.
BIT is a marketing tool
There are way too many boring people out there. Seriously. How many people do you talk to on a regular basis that are excited about their life? There’s a few clients I’ve had the chance to work with one-on-one because they either met me through my blog or liked what I wrote and thought I was interesting. How do you stand out from the crowd? Contrary to lots of people out there, I’m not against working for others [I have a job after all] and I don’t think work is a bad thing. If I have to hire someone, I’m much more inclined to hire the person who shows initiative with a side-project, blog, or business and tries to do something interesting with their life over the one who watches TV for 5 hours every night once they come home. I could be the only person in the world that thinks like that, but it’s my experience, people are attracted to interesting people, so why not be interesting?
Blog Tip: If you’re worried about your boss reading your blog, A) You probably shouldn’t be writing it or B) You should find a boss that values employees that have opinions of their own, think critically and take initiative.
BIT is a doing tool
I have a whole list of impossible things that I’m actually doing. I ran 3 triathlons, along with a half marathon this year. I was an extra in a movie and did lots of other stuff as well. I’ll be finishing up my 100 pushups this month [finally], I’m starting to plan out my races for next year [to be announced soon], and I’ve even got a few more secret plans in the works [more on that later]. I don’t want to say that I wouldn’t have accomplished those things without the blog, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun when you have thousands of people visiting every month expecting to hear an update.
Of course there are other good things that come out of blogging as well. I’m about 1000x better at html than when I started [I was terrible, I’m now mediocre] and I’ve become a much, much better writer. I’ve also gotten better at time management and goal setting as well, but those are all added benefits to the three things I really want BIT to be.
What I Want
More than anything, I want BIT to be a place where I can meet doers. There’s a lot of noise out there, a lot of people who write about stuff that matters, but never actually do anything. I don’t want to hear any more noise and I’m not interested in huge numbers. I’d rather have 2 readers that read BIT and regularly go out and do impossible things that blow my mind, than 20,000 people who re-tweet every post but just skim over it and never do anything about it. Shooting for quality is almost always more fun than sheer quantity.
I make money because of BIT, that I never would have made if I didn’t blog, but that’s not why I’m constantly after the impossible. So what exactly is the why? Lach asked me that same question the other day. The answer is coming Tuesday.
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